lt is with great pain and sorrow that we reflect on and mourn the loss of this magnificent woman of extreme value. Her value is not only the beautiful gift of her voice, but also the sweetness of her soul, and the deep sensitivity that was her gift, to feel the hurt and pain throughout the world.
As a people, we needed some form of relief or balm for our wounded soul. Her root was Allah (God), and His Christ and her love for Allah (God) and the wonderful preaching and guidance of her father. She, therefore, offered the gift of her being and life to all of us, who have benefited from her life. Starting with the songs she sang in church and every song that she recorded, whether gospel or otherwise, all touched the souls of those who were uplifted by the majesty of her voice.
Her songs, her soul and her voice did not only reach our ears, but reached our hearts, our souls, and our spirits to lift us above where we were and caused us to survive the horror, the tyranny of our painful existence as ex-slaves, free slaves, Jim Crow sufferers, our souls yearned for relief. She supplied that balm to our pain.
In 1972, when I was minister in New York City, Temple No. 7, the police attacked our mosque. Within a few hours, Aretha Franklin came to the mosque, to my office, and said that she saw the news and came as quickly as she could to stand with us and offer us her support. She asked me if Rev. Jesse Jackson had been there to show support. I said, not yet. She said, he’ll be here within 48 hours. Rev. Jackson came and stood with the Muslims. We marveled at her show of courage, fearlessness which was rooted in her profound love for her people and her desire for justice for us. Her activism, her selflessness caused her to stand with Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement as she joined the struggle of our people for liberty, equity and justice.
I am personally grateful to Allah (God) for her presence in this world. I am grateful that her voice caused many to survive another day, another week, another year. She could never know how many lives her songs, her soul, have actually saved.
Allah (God) has taken this precious soul back to Himself. We, however, are left with the sweet memory of our communion with her. We thank Allah (God) for her. We praise Allah (God) for the gift He gave to her for us and the world.
I will cherish her life, her voice, and her soul and remember her with deep and abiding love for what she did for me, our people and for all of humanity who were blessed by her time and service among us.”
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
National Representative of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
and the Lost Found Nation of Islam in the West